August 20, 2010
A Walk in the Woods: Curious Mushrooms
I suppose that one day I will no longer be surprised by mushrooms, but for now, they still startle me with their sometimes odd appearance. When we think 'mushroom', we usually have an image of a toadstool shaped fungus, but they grow in so many other shapes, as in the large funnel-shaped mushroom above, with its tongues curving inward, as though drawing in a victim, an animate figure in a science fiction drama.
Coral shaped mushrooms aren't rare, but they are a marvel: a bit of the undersea on the forest floor.
These very small tubular eruptions from the litter of the path would have been easy to miss if I hadn't had my eyes insistently gazing downward. They came up in small groups, each 'finger' swaying to its own rhythm.
There are some mushrooms called Jellies, and from the photo above, you can see why: a beautiful gem-like translucence. There is a mushroom pictured in my field guide that looks similar to this, and which has a magical common name: Witches' Butter.
Finally, nestled among very small toadstools was this strange shaped yellow mushroom, looking like the head and neck of a graceful bird. I assume it's a member of the Earth Tongues, a perfect name for a form rising from the ground and tasting the air above.